Legislature Considers Bill to Lower Legal Age to Shoot Handguns

March 31, 2015

Art+by+Nova+Meurice

Art by Nova Meurice

When most people picture six and seven year olds spending their free time, they imagine them playing soccer, reading Junie B. Jones, or creating imaginary worlds in their heads. But if a new bill expanding Iowans’ gun rights is passed, some of those kids could be spending their time on a shooting range, perfecting their aim with a handgun.

This bill, if passed, would allow children of any age to shoot handguns under proper supervision, as well as legalize the use of sound suppressors to silence weapons. The bill was proposed by House Republican Matt Windschitl.

You can shoot until the day you die and it’s something fun you can do.

— Logan Crawford '17

“Currently in Iowa you do not have to be a certain age to operate a shotgun or a rifle as long as you’re receiving instruction from a parent, a guardian,  or an instructor. I don’t think that our handgun law should be incongruent with that,” said Windschitl. “I’ve taken my two daughters [shooting] multiple times-it provided a great opportunity for me to teach them firearm safety.”

Logan Crawford ‘17 has been shooting since he was six, and has a similar view on the matter.

“I mean the first thing you gotta know is they’re a deadly weapon,” said Crawford. “They can kill, that’s what they’re meant to do is kill. But when you use them correctly, they are less dangerous than a vehicle. I say it’s a good skill. A lot of kids like to play football, basketball, but I mean think about it, how long are you gonna be able to do that? You can shoot until the day you die and it’s something fun you can do.”

Adam Zabner ‘17, however, believes that the only people who should be able to legally possess a handgun are members of law enforcement.

I think starting that at a younger age just creates sort of a culture of the very problems we are trying to solve.

— Adam Zabner '17

“At this point, the drinking age is 21,” Zabner said. “I think it takes a lot more responsibility to be in charge of a killing machine than to be in charge of something like alcohol that changes the way in which you act.”

Zabner believes that allowing children to fire handguns at a younger age will lead to problems in the future.

“I think that when 14 year olds have handguns it can only be more dangerous because even for adults to have handguns–a recent review of all the studies proved that 20:1 you are more likely to cause injury with a handgun than you are to use it in self defense–leads to more violence,” Zabner said. “I think starting that at a younger age just creates sort of a culture of the very problems we are trying to solve.”

 

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